Welcome to the ‘Ber’ Months

I love the colors of Fall

We are in my favorite time of the year. I heard someone call them the ‘Ber’ months, September, October, November & December. I love these months. Gorgeous colors, cool breezes, comfortable sleeping, comfort food and of course wine!

And for all my white wine loving friends, it’s still cool to drink white any time of the year. Last weekend was an extra long weekend for me, so I got to try and share a few new wines.

This was one I tried, when I did ribs for the first time on my new smoker / pellet grill. the Carnivor Zinfandel. I had tried the Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon in the past but never the Zinfandel. I loved it, and it was the perfect wine for ribs.

Lodi California has earned a reputation of great full-bodied Zinfandel wines. A Mediterranean climate with its warm days and cool nights, has given this region the nickname of ‘The Zinfandel Capital of the World’. Let’s not forget old vines and great winemakers, check out this Zinfandel wine.

Zinfandel vines in Lodi

The Carnivor Zinfandel is a product of this great history of wine-making.

I’ve been reading that the 2019 vintage was one of the best in years. Achieving perfect harmony and balance, this wine is normally priced just under $21, which is a good price for a Lodi Zinfandel. But right now, here it is on sale, so you may want to stock up. It was my favorite new wine I’ve tried recently, and it’s definitely my wine of the week.

One quick note that has nothing to do with wine or food (What?)

I finished this book this past week, and it was sooooo good! I can’t wait to see the movie. So, if you’re looking for a good read this Fall, try this one.

Now back to some wine. We are heading to Spain.

My friend Angie bought this wine last Saturday night for our weekly game night. It was a nice wine at a nice price point. It was a medium bodied wine, light and easy to drink. Priced under $17, this is also a very food friendly wine with notes of dried spices.

So, a little news before I go. My mom is coming to visit for 2 weeks.

My sister in Corner Brook, who is her primary care-giver, is going to Hawaii for almost 4 weeks. So my Mom is coming September 30th for 2 weeks. Now, my Mom is a Chardonnay drinker, and she likes some Moscato. So, I’ll be trying some new whites in those weeks. And then I’m flying with her back to Corner Brook, to take care of Maggie till Jackie gets home.

Mom, Jackie & Maggie

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Cheers. And thank you for reading.

Darlene

My X-Tra Long Weekend

Ahhh, everyone loves a long weekend. I made this one extra special by taking Friday off, making it a 4-day weekend. Rest, relaxation, food and of course wine. Plus, a new grill has been added to my collection.

Master Chef Turrismo Pellet Grill

My amazing sister, who had a birthday yesterday, gave me this as a birthday present for turning 60. It’s the MasterChef Turismo pellet grill and smoker.

A nice addition

Along with the barbeque she gave me for Christmas 2 1/2 years ago, I think she likes it when I cook. Last night I fired it up for the first time.

Did sweet Thai chili chicken drumsticks, a turkey breast and glazed turkey wings. I loved cooking on this grill. The smoke flavor was amazing.

Turned out pretty yummy, if I do say so myself.

Lots of people were asking about the wine in the glass. It was pretty yummy too.

Pasqua Passimento Rosso

With subtle smoky notes, this wine paired perfect with my meal done on my new smoker. This wine is known as Pasqua Romeo & Juliet Passimento Rosso, and it’s a blend of dried or “appassimento” grapes of 40% Merlot, 30% Corvina and 30% Croatina. Appassimento means dried, and the process is quite unique. The Merlot and Corvina grapes, selected and hand harvested with great care, are then left to dry for 1 month into wooden trays in the Fruttaio, a special room used for drying grapes. Here, thanks to the dry and well ventilated environment where the humidity level is carefully controlled, the grapes loses around 30% of their water content and gain high flavor concentration. It is normally priced under $20, but here in Nova Scotia it’s on sale right now for about $17. Stock up. Several wine critics have given this wine 91 Points.

That’s it for me this week. Wanted to share this, a picture taken 13 years ago. My nephews Brady & Riley, ages 11 and 7

Brady & Riley 11 & 7

Last weekend my two nephews came to visit.

Last weekend my nephews came to visit. They are now 24 & 20

Brady works at the Iron Ore Company of Canada in Labrador City and Riley returns to Nova Scotia on Monday to start his 3rd Year at St. FX University in Antigonish. Yes, there are days I feel old. LOL

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

619 & Counting

When I went to write this blog this morning, my page told me I’ve written 618 blogs to date. Which makes this one Number 619. That’s a lot of blogs on a Saturday morning. I know I’ve written about my writers block before, as a matter of fact, looking back, it was one year ago today that I wrote about it the last time. I don’t know what it is about the second last weekend of August, but it seems to happen about this time each year. I’ve incorporated my love of cooking, and my love of food in my blogs. Because let’s face it, wine and food are a match made in heaven.

I haven’t done a wine tasting in a while, and I’m finding myself in a bit of a wine rut. I was at the wine store last evening, and although I looked around the different sections, I found myself heading right back to the California section. I’ve been on a bit of a California kick lately. However, this week I enjoyed a bottle of wine given to me at my birthday. This week I tried a new wine from Australia.

The Kings of Prohibition Cabernet Sauvignon is a really nice Australian Cabernet. It’s not overly oaky, it was aged in French oak. which adds subtle oak notes. The wine is named after the famous bootleggers during Prohibition in the 1920’s, Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel to name a few. It’s an easy-to-drink Cabernet Sauvignon that’s well priced under $22.

Margarita Monday

Sometimes in the Summer, you just have to have a Margarita Monday. My friend Maggie who lives above me, had Margarita Monday this past Monday. That lady can make an awesome Margarita. We had a great spread of Mexican-themed food and of course some great Margaritas. Hey, a girl can enjoy more than a glass of wine! Thank you Maggie

It’s also corn season here in Nova Scotia. Fresh peaches and cream corn from the Annapolis Valley made its way to my plate several times this week. I really enjoyed it with a steak and herbed potatoes. Feel free to share your favorite corn recipes in the comment section! Would love to hear them.

Stay cool everyone. It’s supposed to be a hot weekend. It’s also a shorter blog today, I’m heading to Antigonish for the night.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Pour Decisions of Summer

The Lazy Days of Summer

There’s no such thing as a ‘poor’ decision in the Summer, is there? Whatever you are pouring, it always tastes a little better in the Summer. Well, things are starting to heat up here on the East Coast of Canada. It’s supposed to hit 28-degrees today. This is my last wine blog for 2 weeks. I am heading to Newfoundland on vacation next Saturday the 23rd. I don’t mind sharing this with my wine friends, next Friday on the 22nd, I turn 60 years old. So I’m visiting family and friends, and doing a little celebrating on the side.

Gross Morne National Park

My friend Angie is flying down for a few days, and it’s going to be her first time in Newfoundland. I love showing people around my home province. It’s very unique, filled with wonderful people, places and food. One of my goals is to do the spectacular Gros Morne Boat Tour, which is a boat tour that takes you through the fjords of Gros Morne National Park. I live on the West Coast of Newfoundland,(Corner Brook) so we are definitely going to be heading to Gros Morne, so hopefully weather permits we are able to do the boat tour. My Dad is originally from Bonne Bay, so I’m very familiar with the area. It’s a gorgeous drive and you are pretty well guaranteed to see some interesting wildlife.

Can’t wait to see my family and of course this family member…. Miss Maggie

I have something to share with you. I made homemade pasta for the first time this week. Yup, from scratch.

Flour, eggs, olive oil and salt. I formed a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes.

My friends Fred & Arla lent me their pasta machine, which smoothed the dough out. However, I had a little trouble with the attachment that made fettucine, so I cut it myself.

I made a green olive paste from scratch, which consisted of olives, olive oil, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, garlic and lime juice. And then I added 4 cheeses, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan with just a sprinkle of cheddar on top and baked it.

It turned out tasty but here’s where I went wrong on my first attempt. The instructions with the pasta machine said to boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Now I know homemade pasta takes less time to cook than boxed pasta, but because I cut it myself, it was a little thicker. I definitely should have let it boil for another 2 minutes. I would say 5 minutes. It was a little more toothsome than al dente. I ate it though. That’s the beauty of trying to make pasta from scratch, you learn as you go, and you get to eat your results.

The wine you are seeing in the picture is this one

655 Cabernet Sauvignon

Here’s the 655 Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi California and it’s on sale right now, priced under $15 at our local liquor store. To my reader friends in Newfoundland, it’s available there too. Great wine, with mostly Cabernet and a little Petite Sirah and Syrah (2 different grapes) added in to make a complex interesting wine at a great price.

If in the hot weather, you like something iced cold, me and some friends tried this last weekend. OMG! This is good. As a kid, I used to love creamsicle ice cream. If you did too, you’ll love this. Black Fly Vodka Orange Crush.

Black Fly Orange Crush

And now for my wine of the week……

Chronic Cellars

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a great wine label. And every once in a while, you have to treat yourself. So this was my treat last night, Chronic Cellars Red Blend. This gorgeous blend, dominated by 70% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah and 4% Grenache, won’t disappoint. Wow. Given 91 Points and an Editor’s Choice by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. And it’s still priced at just $25 here. A big welcome to our new readers from the U.S. Obviously the price is quite different where you live. Your neighbours to the North pay a lot more for wine.

Stay safe in the heat my friends. I’m on the road next Saturday and in Newfoundland the following Saturday. I’ll be back in 3 weeks with some new adventures, lots of pictures and a new wine or two.

Cheers

A France Reunion

Last Saturday night, the group of us who went to France, plus some other friends, got together for a wine tasting.

The Gang

We sure did miss Ed & Juanita, who live in PEI and wasn’t able to make it over. But we had a fabulous evening of amazing food and some good wine. First of all, I have to say Wow at the food we had that night. Cathy put out an unbelievable spread. Appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and a charcuterie board that would put a professional chef to shame.

A work of art

It was a wonderful night of stories and some good laughs. We featured some great white wines.

Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc

From the Marlborough region of New Zealand, Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc is a family owned winery and Peter Jackson is the head winemaker. Gorgeous structure and bright acidity, Richard guessed the grape immediately because of it’s tropical fruit notes on the nose. If you are a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, like I am, this one is definitely worth trying.

Centerstone Chardonnay

I’ve bought Chardonnay to wine tastings from all over the world. One of the things many people don’t like about Chardonnay is how oaky it is. Well, this one from the Willamette Valley in Oregon is unoaked and very tasty. Apple and pineapple flavors shine, and is not over-powered by any oak.

We also had a Rose, one of my favorites, Gerard Bertrand Rose. I’ve written about this one before. I love this rose wine.

We also had a local Nova Scotia wine, Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay.

Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay

Representing the terroir of Nova Scotia, this crisp wine was perfect with the charcuterie board, but ultimately was designed for seafood.

You know it is impossible for me to write a wine blog without featuring a red. And what a red wine I have to feature.

Bear with me while I tell you a short story. On Tuesday, it was my friend Angie’s birthday. We were getting together Wednesday to have a sip, I bought this special bottle of wine to celebrate my friend’s birthday. But when I got there, she had another one opened. So I never got to try it that night. Last night, I went downstairs to our Common Room for Happy Hour, and one of the ladies had bought this bottle of wine and offered me a glass. Wow! I have had the J. Lohr Merlot, the Red Blend, the Zinfandel and now I’ve had the Cabernet Sauvignon. I love J Lohr wines and this Cabernet has been named one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the United States in 2021. Full-bodied and rich, this wine, perfect beef wine, is a treat bottle at $32 a bottle. But so worth it.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. One of our red wines was skunky last weekend, so we didn’t drink it. I’ll have some new wines for next weekend as well. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene